Bee Thousand. A cornerstone of the lo-fi style that dominated indie in the ’90s, that album’s hissy, trebly sound belied the sophistication of Pollard’s songwriting and that of his former collaborator, Tobin Sprout. Fans who saw GBV at the Teragram last August witnessed Pollard rocking with more guts than frontmen half his age, tearing through a 52-song set list (including three encores) and tossing off anecdotes about his legendary drinking (“Matador Records wanted to send me to rehab”). GBV’s latest, August by Cake, released earlier this month, contains some of Pollard’s strongest work since 2003’s Earthquake Glue.
Robert Pollard may be the unlikeliest hero in indie rock, a genre defined by its unlikely heroes. He was 36 years old before his music career finally took off with the 1994 release of Guided by Voices’